How to Successfully Market ‘Boring’ Products
Some products are so “cool” and fun to use that it's obvious how to market them. If you sell makeup - use Instagram influencers. If you sell baked goods, then create videos showing you making and eating them.
For commodity products, however, it can be hard to give consumers a good reason why they should buy your product over anyone else's.
Although marketing these products is more difficult, it is still possible. Furthermore, due to the creative thinking needed to successfully market these products, a good campaign should have a greater effect in these boring industries compared to more trendy ones.
As an owner of an online store that sells used tires, I’ve struggled with the “marketing a boring product” problem for more than a decade. Here are some of the best strategies that I have used to overcome this problem. Hopefully they can provide you with some ideas for your next campaign.
Finding Audience Segments
Getting positive attention to relatively mundane products is all about finding the exact audience who may find whatever product you are selling exciting.
All products will have such a market, otherwise these products would never have been made in the first place. However, some audience groups are harder to find than others (especially online).
In most cases, there will be more than one discrete “audience segment” who finds your product particularly interesting or beneficial to them. Make a list of these different segments and start thinking about how you can target them individually.
Each segment will have a different reason why they are particularly interested in your product. So creating custom campaigns for each of these segments will be far more effective than just hitting them all with the same messaging. This is true for both the content that you provide and the platform that you try to reach them on.
Unfortunately, this means a lot of testing. Especially early on in each campaign...
Partner with Trendier Products in Your Wider Buying Chain
Even if the product that you sell isn’t the most interesting, there will certainly be other products that are frequently bought with your product that have more obvious marketing hooks.
Products that are frequently bought together can almost always be marketed together. All you have to do is build a logical bridge between your product and the more trendier one. This will give you access to their audience.
A good place to start with this is looking at how your expertise as a merchant of your product can be used to endorse the trendier product. Product owners and marketers will always jump at the chance for third-party endorsements. And this can be your opportunity to hop on the back of a trendier industry.
An example of this approach that we have used to promote our tires has been to partner up with fleet telematics companies. This allows us to talk about the importance of fleet drivers keeping their tires inflated. Since telematics (vehicle condition monitoring software) and tires can both be promoted in this “angle,” we both benefit from this. Telematics is a growing industry at the moment. So we benefit further from being able to tap into their marketing resources to get exposure for ourselves.
This strategy links with the first point made in this article. If you find specific audiences, look at what else they buy alongside your products. Often, one of these types of products will be in an industry where large content budgets are the norm. And you can use this to your advantage.
Tie Your Product to More “Mainstream” Topics
Connecting your products to other trendier products is wise. But you can also try to tie what you sell into more mainstream, relevant topics. Creating best-in-class content about these topics can get relevant people onto your website via organic search. And then you can try to upsell them either directly on your website or with paid ads in the future.
For example, for our tire retailers, we have created content around how to organize cross-country road trips, car safety, and road quality maps.
As a result, not only do we rank very well for our target market’s high-volume keywords, but, due to their quality, they are being cited by other websites. Having a steady stream of links coming through in this manner is the backbone of a solid SEO strategy.
No matter how superficially “boring” the products that you sell are, there is always a way to make them interesting to at least certain segments of the population. Focus on creating the right kind of content for these people. And put it in the right places for them to find it. Plus, you should create a dedicated following of people who are actually interested in what you sell.